A woman was arrested Monday and charged with 166 felony counts as well 28 misdemeanor charges, all in connection with a scam to steal toys from Toys for Tots, a charity run by the United States Marine Corps Reserve.
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office said Tammy Strickland, 38, used 140 fictitious children’s names and 28 fictitious adult names on falsified Toys for Tots applications.
Strickland loaded up the toys into a trailer Monday at a Toys for Tots warehouse.
“Children in need. ‘Toys for Tots.’ These things are synonymous with Christmas,” Polk Sheriff Grady Judd said at a press conference. “Sadly, in this case, so is The Grinch.” Judd displayed pictures of both Strickland and the infamous Dr. Seuss villain.
“Tammy Strickland spent a long time filling out fraudulent applications for nonexistent children to receive toys. Now she’ll be spending a lot of time in jail.”
Officers said they received a tip last month about Strickland and determined she submitted a large number of applications for toys from the program, for dozens of children. Strickland listed herself as “contact person” all of the applications, according to The Washington Post.
Detectives arranged to meet the woman in an undercover sting at the Toys for Tots warehouse where she collected the toys Monday. She was driving a Cadillac at the time, a point that was reiterated by Sheriff Judd: “Do you hear me? She drove up in a Cadillac.”
Strickland has three other arrests dating back to 2006.
Her bond has been set at $30,000.